Sport has played an important role in South Africa’s turbulent history, culture and unification of a nation.
Historically, South Africa has struggled with the provision of sport. Before the abolition of apartheid in 1994, sport reflected the power and privilege of the white population, and the inequalities that existed between genders and in race. Then came the renowned 1995 Rugby World Cup Final. The predominately white South African team sang Zulu, Nelson Mandela wore a Springbok rugby shirt (a symbol of white superiority), and 40 million South Africans were united for the first time in history. Sport in South Africa, it seems, is an extraordinarily powerful tool.
Nevertheless, physical education for children is not at the level it should be. This is despite hosting the 2013 Football World Cup, and the recent international success of South African athletes. The government does recognise the need for physical education, yet improvements are not reaching those who – almost certainly – need it the most. South Africa is still recovering from apartheid, and so is physical education.
This is why the work of African Impact is essential. The outcomes-based education system means that sport has limited time allocation. In many areas, physical education is seen as low status. The result of this is unrefined practice, and in most cases, no practice at all. There is no society for P.E. teaching, no forum for discussion, and no environment for academic learning. The quality of sport, and indeed health, is endangered.
Through African Impact, this is reversed. Volunteers provide a safe and enjoyable space in which children can be taught the benefits of sport, good health, and proper nutrition. Through teaching technique, any underdeveloped fine-motor skills improve. Through teaching sportsmanship, relationships are built. And through encouragement, horizons broaden. Whilst the days can be challenging, there remains no doubt that using sport to empower hundreds of children is the experience of a lifetime.
Andy joined our Sports Coaching and Development Project in Cape Town in 2015 – to find out more about the project use the search option in the top right corner.